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Smooth muscle cell-specific knockout of androgen receptor: a new model for prostatic disease

Endocrine Society
Publication Date
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Androgen-driven stromal-epithelial interactions play a key role in normal prostate development and function as well as in the progression of common prostatic diseases such as benign prostatic hyperplasia and prostate cancer. However, exactly how, and via which cell type, androgens mediate their effects in the adult prostate remains unclear. This study investigated the role for smooth muscle (SM) androgen signaling in normal adult prostate homeostasis and function using mice in which androgen receptor was selectively ablated from prostatic SM cells. In adulthood the knockout (KO) mice displayed a 44% reduction in prostate weight and exhibited histological abnormalities such as hyperplasia, inflammation, fibrosis, and reduced expression of epithelial, SM, and stem cell identify markers (e.g. p63 reduced by 27% and Pten by 31%). These changes emerged beyond puberty and were not explained by changes in serum hormones. Furthermore, in response to exogenous estradiol, adult KO mice displayed an 8.5-fold greater increase in prostate weight than controls and developed urinary retention. KO mice also demonstrated a reduced response to castration compared with controls. Together these results demonstrate that prostate SM cells are vital in mediating androgen-driven stromal-epithelial interactions in adult mouse prostates, determining cell identity and function and limiting hormone-dependent epithelial cell proliferation. This novel mouse model provides new insight into the possible role for SM androgen action in prostate disease.

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